Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: March 2020

6 - The Postcranial Axial Skeleton


In this chapter we discuss the vertebral column, ribs, and sternum from a developmental perspective. The axial skeleton of newborn hominoids (apes and humans) is discussed based on the literature, followed by accounts of osteology in a newly described sample of newborn tarsiers, Old World monkeys, New World monkeys, and strepsirrhines (lemurs and lorises). The neonatal vertebral column is fragmented in skeletonized specimens, because in most vertebrae, actively growing synchondroses connect the right and left neural arches and connect the centrum to the arches. Transverse processes, portions of the articular facets, and the ventral arch of C1 are also cartilaginous in most primates. However, tarsiers and most monkeys have an ossified C1 ventral arch. The chapter ends with a brief discussion of the early postnatal trajectory of axial skeleton ossification in selected primate species based on a comparison of species at different stages (neonatal and older infant), including some at similar known ages.